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Full text of "Why Was Christ Baptized?"



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Why Was Christ Baptized? 

SHOULD WE FOLLOW HIM IN BAPTISM? 



By CORNELIUS R. STAM 



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Look within or about you and you will see 
enough failure and sin to break your heart. 

The Evangelist Luke paints a very dis- 
appointing picture of man before he presents 
Christ, the perfect Man. 

The angel brings goods news to Zacharias 
and he will not believe it. A host of angels ac- 
claim the Savior's birth, but He is hardly recog- 
nized. His own mother travels a whole day's 
journey before she realizes that He is not in 
the company, And then this neglectful mother 
rebukes Him for tarrying at Jerusalem! John 
the Baptist tries in vain to bring the people of 
Israel to repentance. They are given the Law and 
they break it. They are offered repentance and 
they refuse it. Yes, they are offered repentance — 

"But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by John for Herodias 
his brother Philip'* wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done; 
Added yet this above all, that HE SHUT UP JOHN IN PRISON." 
(U. 3:19,20). 

An immoral wretch occupies the throne 
while the great reformer is shut up in jail! 









This is the picture that Luke paints of man 
before he introduces "the Man Christ Jesus." 

After painting this picture Luke takes us 
back again into the ministry of John the Bap- 
tist. Among the throng who have come to be 
baptized we find "Jesus also." (Luke 3:21). 



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OUR LORD'S BAPTISM 



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"THEN COM ETTR JESUS FROM CAULEE TO JORDAN UNTO 
JOHN, TO BE BAPTIZED OF HIM." (Matt. 3:13). 



Why should He be baptized? He had no 
need to repent. He had no sins to confess. The 
Jews had expected Messiah to baptize, not to be 
baptized. They had said to John, "Why baptizest 
thou then, if thou be not that Christ 



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(John 1:25). 

Even John was surprised and greatly em- 
barrassed at our Lord's coming to be baptized. 

"BUT JOHN FORBAD HIM, SAYING, I HAVE NEED TO BE 
BAPTIZED OF THEE. AND COMEST THOU TO ME?" (Mitt. 3: 






'Jesus alspt}' Striking phrase! 

)hn's baptism was clearly a CONFESSION 
OP SIN. It 4as "piE BAPTISM OF REPENT- 
ANCE." (Luke 3:3^. Sinners came to John "and 
were baptized of him in Jordan, CONFESSING 
THEIR SINSS (Matt. 3:6>. 

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A GREATER BAPTISM 

But our Lord's water baptism was only a 
shadow of the real thing. After this was over 
He said, 






And the Father Himself broke through the 
heavens to let all know that 

"THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL 
PLEASED." (Matt 3:17). 

But notice how our Lord answered John. 
Notice it, all who ask why Christ was baptized: 

"AND JESUS ANSWERING SAID UNTO HIM, SUFFER IT 
TO BE SO NOW: FOR THUS IT BECOMETH US TO FULFIL ALL 
RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Matt 3:15). 

This does not, of course, mean that his 
baptism with water alone would fulfil all 
righteousness, but simply that this was one of 
the things necessary to the fulfilling of all 
righteousness. 

Since our Lord had no sins to confess there 
can only be one reason why He submitted to 
"the baptism of repentance." He was taking the 
place of others. To. "fulfil all righteousness," 
to settle the account between God and man, 
He must be "numbered with the transgressors" 
and bear the blame and disgrace for their sins. 

What thoughts must have filled the minds 
of the people as they saw Him come with others 
to be baptized by John! How they must have 
said to each other, "You see,. He is not so' holy 
as some people seem to think! Here He comes, 
just like the rest! John's words have been 
troubling His conscience!" 












"BUT I HAVE A BAPTISM TO BE BAPTIZED WITH, AND 
HOW AM I STRAITENED TILL IT BE ACCOMPLISHED!" 

(Luke 12:50). 

He spoke, of course, of His baptism of fire 
and blood and death on the cross. 

See Him as He stands before Pilate: 

"AS A SHEEP BEFORE HER SHEARERS IS DUMB, SO HE 
OPENETH NOT HIS MOUTH." (Isa. 53:7). 

"And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, 
He answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto Him, HEAREST THOU 
NOT HOW MANY THINGS THEY WITNESS AGAINST THEE? 

"AND HE ANSWERED HIM TO NEVER A WORD, insomuch 
that the governor marvelled greatly." (Matt. 27:12-14). 

But why did He not answer? He was not 
guilty of all those crimes. He could have given 
a thousand answers and exposed the secret sins 
of His accusers at the same time. 

Ah, He was willingly bearing the blame 
for their sins— and for yours and mine. Standing 
there, speechless and condemned in our stead 
He carried His purpose through. 

He had identified Himself with man to save 
him. He was numbered with the transgressors 
in the confession of sin; now He was to be num- 
bered with them in the payment of its penalty, 
dying on a cross between two thieves, to "put 
away sin by sacrifice of Himself." 

This was the great baptism which wrung 
from His lips such expressions as, "How am 
I straitened until it be accomplished!" "Now 
is my soul troubled." "Oh, my Father, if it be 
possible, let this cup pass from me." This was 



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the baptism which made Him "exceedingly sor- 
rowful," and caused Him to "sweat, as it were, 
great drops of blood.'* 

The death of the cross! It was the culmi- 
nation of what He had begun when first "num- 
bered with the transgressors." This baptism 
was, of course, even more important than the 
other to the fulfilling of all righteousness. There 
He had confessed sin (taking the blame for 
others); here He was to pay for sin — "the sins 
of the whole world!" \ 

Let us ever thank God that our blessed 
Lord became "OBEDIENT, UNTO DEATH, 
EVEN THE DEATH OP THE CROSS," for 
"BY THE OBEDIENCE OP ONE SHALL 
MANY BE MADE RIGHTEOUS." (Phil. 2:8, 
Rom. 5:19). 

THE GREATEST BAPTISM 

Some years after the crucifixion Paul said, 

"I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST . . . WHO LOVED ME 
AND CAVE HIMSELF FOR ME." (Gal. 220). 

After Saul had been baptized with water 
as a repentant Jew, the glorified Lord showed 
him the higher truth that by grace, through 
faith, Christ's death had been reckoned as his 
— indeed, that it was his death that Christ had 
died. This is why we find Paul exclaiming that 
he is "crucified with Christ" — "baptized into 
His death." 

Water baptism was only a shadow. Christ 
was the Substance. And Paul was the chosen 

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vessel to reveal the glorious truth that believers 
are "complete in Him . . . buried with Him in 
baptism." (Col. 2:10,12). And this became the 
very theme of Paul's message. Henceforth it * 

must be known that there is but "ONE BAP- 
TISM," (Eph. 4:5), —baptism into the death of 
Christ (Rom. 6:3), and so into Christ Himself 
(Gal. 3:27) and into His body. (I Cor. 12:13). 

Why, then, was Christ baptized? 

"To FULFIL all righteousness." "To fulfil— 
ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Matt. 3:15). 

Did He FULFIL — ALL RIGHTEOUS- 
NESS? Indeed He did. This was fully mani- 
fested "in due time." 

Then what are men doing when they go 
through the ordinance of water baptism today? 

They are casting reflections upon His 
finished work! 

Fundamentalists rightly oppose Modernists 
for teaching men to follow the earthly Jesus; 
yet thousands of Fundamentalists turn right 
around and ask us to follow Him in baptism! 

Rom. 6:3 and Gal. 3:27 both teach that 
believers are "baptized into Christ." Some Fun- 
damentalist teachers, to uphold their water bap- 
tism theories, say that "into" should have been 
translated "unto" in these passages. Can you 
see that this helps to prove their case? Does 
water baptism bring us into ANY relationship 
to Christ, either "into" or "unto?" 









One Fundamentalist preacher says, "The 
Lord Jesus Christ Himself was baptized in water. 
Remember that." But he might just as truly 
have said, "The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was 
circumcised. Remember that!" Should we there- 
fore be circumcised? If we submitted to that 
ordinance today we would most certainly deserve 
the stern rebuke which Paul pronounced upon 
the Galatian believers. But Paul tells us dis- 
tinctly, by the Holy Spirit, that believers have 
been both circumcised and baptized WITH 
CHRIST. (Read carefully Col. 2:10-12). 



FOLLOWING CHRIST 

The apostle Paul instructs us how we should 
follow Christ today, but this is the lesson so 
many refuse to learn. 



"BE YE FOLLOWERS OF ME, EVEN AS I 
AM OF CHRIST." (I Cor. 11:1). 

He, unlike the twelve, got his message, not 
from the earthly Jesus, but from the glorified 
Lord in heaven. 

In II Cor. 5:16 he marks a new number in 
the program of God: 

"WHEREFORE HENCEFORTH KNOW WE NO MAN AFTER 
THE FLESH: YEA, THOUGH WE HAVE KNOWN CHRIST AFTER 
THE FLESH, YET NOW HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO 
MORE." 

Christ on earth took His place with sinners, 
yea, even the place of sinners. He fulfilled all 
God's righteousness for failing, sinful man, and 















God righteously raised Him from the dead and 
set Him at His own right hand. The full accom- 
plishments of His finished work were made 
known in due time through Paul, the chief of 
sinners saved by grace. 

Now we know Christ, not as the Man of 
Galilee, but as the risen, exalted Son of God, 
through Whom and in Whom we may obtain a 
perfect standing before God. 

"FOR COD HATH MADE HIM TO BE SIN FOR US, WHO 
KNEW NO SIN, THAT WE MIGHT BE MADE THE RIGHTEOUS- 
NESS OF GOD IN HIM." (II Cor. 5:21). 

When our blessed Lord came up out of the 
water "there came a voice from heaven, saying, 
THOU ART MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM 
I AM WELL PLEASED/' (Mark 1:11). 

The question now is, do you stand before 
God in Christ? If so, then, most assuredly, God is 
well pleased with you and you are "ACCEPTED 
IN THE BELOVED ONE." (Eph. 1:6). 



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